The Young UK Laser Engineer's Prize for 2003
Damian was presented with his Prize by Professor Bill Steen.
The prize was awarded for his role as project manager for the specification, tender, installation and commissioning of a 5-axis laser profiling machine cutting titanium and aerospace alloys at BAE SYSTEMS, Samlesbury
Many months of trails were required to assess the laser cutting of stressed aircraft components to ensure that the process conformed with aerospace design standards, before potential suppliers could be short-listed and invited to tender.
Following the competitive tender process the machine finally chosen was the Trumpf Lasercell TLC6005. From a wide range of Laser types and power, Damian chose a Trumpf 1.8 kW CO2 laser to handle their relatively thin materials. Consideration was given into cutting thicker materials with a 3 kW laser but this option was dismissed at an early stage of the project. The machine forms part of a £2.9 million facility, which in turn is part of a £17 million plus Eurofighter Typhoon manufacturing facility investment with the Fabrication Business at Samlesbury.
"The whole project team, which includes many disciplines, has delivered a facility to be proud of. Fast, accurate and repeatable parts are the norm and the machine will serve the profiling of parts formed within the Fabrication Business for many years to come." said Damian. "Laser technology was chosen for its significant advantages over other technologies and the laser machining facility is the fruition of many years of work." he added.
Since its successful installation and commissioning, the machine is now being used in the production of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft parts of varying material type and thickness, with the capacity to meet the peak demands of these parts, expected in 2007.
AILU member Chris Lane, the BAE SYSTEMS Laser Safety Officer, who worked closely with Damian on the project, made the nomination. "Over the years, I have been involved in many large procurement programmes for laser related equipment but what impressed me most was Damian's professional approach and enthusiasm throughout the project, achieving the right balance between engineering and safety considerations. Added to this, laser processing in the aerospace industry is still in it's infancy and he had to overcome not only the difficulties of selecting the correct solution but also qualifying that components could be manufactured to the stringent aerospace standards". said Chris.
The Prize, for which applicants are judged on the basis of the real or potential economic benefit of their work, was established to help encourage young engineers to apply their skills for the benefit of UK manufacturing industry. Providing that worthy candidate comes forward, it will be awarded annually.